CIA Inspector General’s office faces internal inquiry

November 14th, 2007 - 2:07 am ICT by admin  
Director General Michael V. Hayden ordered the inquiry into the work of Inspector General John L. Helgerson after his aggressive investigations of the CIA’s detention and interrogation programs and other matters created resentment among agency operatives.

According to a New York Times report, a small team working for General Hayden is looking into the conduct of the agency’s watchdog office.

The daily quoted current and former government officials as saying that the review had caused anxiety and anger in Helgerson’s office, and aroused concern on Capitol Hill that it posed a conflict of interest.

Some serving and retired officials feel that any move to examine the work of the inspector general would be unusual, if not unprecedented, and would threaten to undermine the independence of the office.

Frederick P. Hitz, who served as CIA Inspector General from 1990 to 1998, said that a move to examine the work of Helgerson’s office would “not be proper.”

“I think it’s a terrible idea,” said Hitz, who now teaches at the University of Virginia, adding: “Under the statute, the Inspector General has the right to investigate the Director. How can you do that and have the Director turn around and investigate the IG?”

On the other hand, CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano has defended the inquiry, saying General Hayden supported the work of the inspector general’s office and had “accepted the vast majority of its findings.”

“His only goal is to help this office, like any office at the agency, do its vital work even better,” said Gimigliano.

The inquiry was ordered in the wake of some complaints that Helgerson’s office has not acted as a fair and impartial judge of agency operations, but instead has begun a crusade against those who have participated in controversial detention programs.

The inquiry, being overseen by Robert L. Deitz, a trusted aide to Hayden and a lawyer who served as general counsel at the National Security Agency when Hayden ran it, involved formal interviews with at least some of the inspector general’s staff, and was perceived by some agency employees as an “investigation.”

Michael Morrell, CIA’s Associate Deputy Director, is also a member of the inquiry group. (ANI)

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